Countdown to Nicaragua

Meeting the family

Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

I was on my way to my car when my phone buzzed.

Since the screen didn’t light up, I knew it was an email. I wasn’t expecting anything important, maybe some spam or something. I mean, it was late into the evening on a Friday. Who could be emailing me now? To my surprise, I saw the following subject line:

Nicaragua 2015 Homestay Families.

I stopped dead in my tracks with absolute disbelief. At this point, I thought I’d find out who my host family was on the bus ride from Managua to Matagalpa.

After realizing I was in the middle of a parking lot and a car was waiting for me to move, I ran over to my own car, got in and read the rest of the email. After scrolling to the very last page on the bottom, I finally found out who I’m going to live with for the three weeks I’m abroad.

My host family is consisted of a mother, father, daughter and son. However, the best part is they have animals in their home. I have two pets at my house, so it was really neat to have something to relate to.


Reaching out

In the email professor Meghan Mehlos sent us with our information, she said it would be nice for us to contact our host families prior to departure later this month.

She also said it should be in Spanish. The language I haven’t practiced in over a year. Oh man.


I knew it was inevitable. I need to practice my Spanish before my plane lands in Managua. It’s just been something I’ve put off the entire semester because I don’t want to do it. Can’t I just close my eyes, open my mouth and hope for the best? If only.

As I sat down to write out what I was going to say last week, my Spanish came back to me easier than I thought. Sure, I had to look up words I knew and used for the six years I actively practiced, but as a whole, it came back to me easily enough.

A few hours after I sent the email to my family, the father replied. In Spanish. Okay, I sort of struggled with writing the email, now I have to interpret it? Challenge number two: Accepted.

It was a little harder to interpret what he said to me. After I thought I understood what he was trying to get across, I turned to Google Translate to double check.

Even though it was only a two-email exchange, I was overcome with excitement. I actually got to communicate to my host father. It’s so surreal to me that I’m emailing someone who’s not in the United States. He’s a complete stranger, and in less than a month, he won’t be anymore.

I’m still apprehensive about a lot of things, but I can tell I got matched with a family who will take me in and take care of me for the three weeks I’m with them. What more can I ask for right now?